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Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Portraits

Matt Stichter

Associate Professor

Office: Johnson Tower 817
Phone: 509-335-7121
Curriculum Vitae

My current research program in ethical theory involves articulating a novel conception of virtue in which virtues are understood as practical skills, for both involve learning how to act well. Learning a skill is a process of acquiring practical knowledge, that is, the knowledge of how to do something, like building a house or driving a car. With virtue, the practical knowledge is the knowledge of how to act morally well, like acting honestly or kindly. The virtuous person is seen as an ethical expert, who has achieved expertise in several moral skills. I ground my conception of skill acquisition in the latest psychological research on expertise, as well as in recent advances in cognitive science. This project highlights the relevance of skill acquisition for those working in areas of moral development and moral psychology. Furthermore, the discussion extends beyond the bounds of virtue theory, by examining the social and political concerns that arise with acknowledging the existence of ethical expertise.

Ph.D. in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, 2007
M.A. in Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, 2003
B.A. in Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, 1996

Research Interests:

Ethical Theory, Virtue Ethics, Applied Ethics, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Expertise, Philosophy of Law, Social and Political Philosophy, Virtue Epistemology


  • Understanding Virtue and Virtue Development in the Context of Heritability Information (co-PI with Matthew Vess, Rebecca Brooker, & Jenae Nederhiser) (2016-2019)



  • The Skillfulness of Virtue: Improving our Moral and Epistemic Lives, Cambridge University Press (in press, expected October 2018).

 Chapters in Edited Volumes

  • Virtue as Skill: Self-regulation and Situationism, in Fridland and Pavese (eds.), Routledge Handbook on Skill and Expertise. Routledge (forthcoming).
  • Virtue as Skill, in Nancy Snow (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Virtue. New York: Oxford University Press (2017), 57-84.
  • The Role of Motivation and Wisdom in Virtue as Skill, in Annas, Narvaez & Snow (eds.), Developing the Virtues: Integrating Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press (2016), 204-223.

  Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Virtue as Skill and the Virtues of Self-Regulation, Journal of Value Inquiry, Special Issue on Virtue and Skill, forthcoming.
  • with Leland Saunders, Positive Psychology and Virtue: Values in Action, Journal of Positive Psychology, Special Issue on Character Strengths and Virtues, forthcoming.
  • with Matthew Vess, Rebecca Brooker, and Jenae Nederhiser, Genes and Virtue: Exploring how heritability beliefs shape conceptions of virtue and its development, Behavioral Genetics, Special Issue on Genetics and Human Agency, forthcoming.
  • Practical Skills and Practical Wisdom in Virtue, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94:3 (2016): 435-448.
  • Philosophical and Psychological Accounts of Expertise and Experts, Mente – Journal of Philosophical Studies 28: Experts and Expertise. Interdisciplinary Issues. (2015): 105-128.
  • The Structure of Death Penalty Arguments, Res Publica 20:2 (2014): 129-143.

• Graduate Seminar in Ethical Theory
• Graduate Seminar in Business Ethics
• Social and Political Philosophy
• Philosophy of Law
• Ethical Theory
• Business Ethics
• Introduction to Ethics

Washington State University